Saturday, November 5, 2016

Minsmere RSPB - American Cliff Swallow

It is quite extraordinary that this resident of the Americas was found, ostensibly, on the wrong side of the UK.  Extraordinary that it should linger all day in brutish weather.  It was cold, and the northerly wind bared its' teeth.

Leaving at 5am, I arrived dead on seven.  There were murmurings that the bird had already been sighted.  There were already around c300 twitchers on site.

Moments later, a group of seven Barn Swallow flew over.  Mass panic. A bird, shorter tailed hung back from the group then disappeared.

Then the show began.  The American Cliff Swallow appeared, joining rank with it's European cousins.  Perching on top of a hawthorn for long periods appeared incongruous.  It was hard to imagine there was any food here for them.



What appeared to be a juvenile, the short tail, dusty rump and nape, and a distinctive pale face mask made this bird really rather attractive. Then I left the assembled crowd.

Spending time strolling round the reserve was inevitable. Needless to say... [it's a fabulous reserve].

The East Scrape held five Bewick Swan, a species I very rarely see these days.  A Purple Sandpiper picked off bugs along the outflow opposite the south sluice.  A late Spotted Redshank fed on the adjacent south scrape.


Two Bittern were seen, one flying daringly close past the Island Mere Hide.

It was a relaxing time, sat in the Wildlife Lookout hide watching the wildfowl.  Two Kingfisher, line astern, zoomed by.  Two Swallow flew through accompanied by the Cliff Swallow.  A really surreal moment, having this yank vagrant pretty much to myself.


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